Saturday, October 9, 2010


So I was totally intimidated when I saw how long Boneshaker was. I prayed that it was nothing like some of the more difficult things we've read, such as The Island. And it's not. I've knocked out half of the book in no time. As a history major, I'm completely fascinated with the steam punk sub genre now. I'm hoping to look into it some more. I love how scifi is plugged into a historical setting. These people are walking around with lanterns, but Lucy has a mechanical arm. Awesome. It threw me off guard when I opened the book and the writing was brown. Has anyone seen a novel written in any color but black before this? However the brown seems appropriate for a novel in a Civil War (well extended Civil War in this book) era setting.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I don't know if any of you watch Castle, but it's one of my favorites. Nathan Fillion (you know, Captain Reynolds from Firefly) is the title character, so that's probably half the reason I watch it. But this week, rather appropriately they are doing an episode on steam punk! They go to a steam punk club, and it all looks rather amazing. The episode is linked.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Did it dazzle you?

So, the greatest thing ever just happened. If you happen to be reading this standing up, I recommend that you sit down. Ok:


Oh yes, it's true. While skanking around Holly Black's blog, I discovered that she is the co-editor of an anthology entitled Zombies vs. Unicorns (Black is team unicorn) that could possibly be the best battle ever. I would get the book and start reading if I had the time :(. But I'm sure the book will knock me outta my sorority girl Nike shorts when I do get to read it. (Or maybe just dazzle me.)

Anyway, if any of you do have time, please read and let me know what you think! So far it is getting great reviews! And check out the trailer on Holly's blog. It's pretty awesome. Oh and this is the epically epic cover:


The Space Oddities Son

I know this is a very last minute post as we will be meeting soon, but I just thought this article was interesting, though only the part about really applies to this class is hard to find (it's on the second page under "The Monkees/ David Bowie Connection"). It's funny how Zowie Bowie changed his name in order to escape his father, yet he ends up making movies about a man in space anyway.

Which got led me to start thinking about other songs that have influenced or been influenced by science fiction. I know Elton John's Rocket Man is based on a story by Ray Bradbury, but I can't think of any other's off the top of my head. Do ya'll know of any? And do you think a song or music can be classified as science fiction?

Robots: friend or foe?

The previous post, "Moon" by Drew, got me thinking: are robots good or bad in contemporary science fiction? Are the technological intelligences we create our helpers and companions, or are they usurpers looking to exist beyond the control of their creators. I mean, we have plenty of examples so far: GERTY, the chimp, the naked brains (to an extent), the room in "Going Deep" and so on. So what do we think? Is science fiction today more of a Matrix/Terminator world where the robots quite literally wage war on humanity? Is it moving towards or away from this? Any thoughts or other current examples?


I just finished watching "Moon" last night and let me say that the movie really surprised me. I honestly thought it wasn't going to be very good because I had never heard of it even though it came out in 2009. It was a great story. I know isolation is a major part of this story. Watching Sam all alone reminded me of "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. The viewer is able to see the toll it takes on someone who is forced into isolation with only a robot or volleyball to talk to. What other movies come to mind when you think of isolation?

A glimpse into another world

D&D. Dungeons and Dragons. The pinnacle of nerdom. There is a stereotypical image one gets when this game is mentioned: A group of socially maladjusted nerds huddled together in someone's parent's basement surrounded by cans of Mountain Dew. But how much of this stereotype reflects reality? According to my experience, not much... though we did begin in the basement of Nott Hall.

Let me start from the beginning. In Freshman year, I was a part of a small group of friends that would watch movies on Friday nights. We would often watch indie films ranging from the abstract to parody. One film we watched towards the end of the year was titled The Gamers. It was a comedy focused on a D&D campaign and the antics of the heroes on the quest. Interestingly enough, both The Gamers and its sequel The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising actually made D&D sound like a lot of fun.

Sophomore year, I joined that group of friends in playing a D&D campaign. The participants were as follows: 1 Computer Science major, 2 Aerospace Engineering majors, 1 Psychology major, and me, a Political Science/History major. It was actually a surprising amount of fun. It provided an opportunity to combine collaborative storytelling with game mechanics such as one might find in a video game. The result was an epic story that we still talk about to this day.

After completing the pre-constructed module, one of the Aerospace Engineering majors decided to create his own campaign setting, the world Iya. He did an incredible job; it is a completely fleshed out fantasy world complete with altered physical laws, intrastate conflict, and warring nation-states. I have played a Bard, a Cleric, a Scout, and a Rogue. Each of which required the creation of a full-fledged character with a backstory that could interact with those of all the other participants.

To make a long story short, our group entered D&D on a lark and discovered an incredibly fun activity for Friday nights.

Kevin SpaceyBot

Totally enjoyed watching Moon. BUT I have to admit (and I know at least Bailey agress) that I would have been entirely too freaked out to watch it on my own. The fact that he was a clone, his lack of communication with the world, and just being alone on a moon with only Kevin SpaceyBot around to keep him depressing? So weird. And kind of gross (the whole throwing up blood thing...a little graphic, not to mention picking his tooth out of it. Gag). But amusing nonetheless.

I was entirely too entertained by Kevin SpaceyBot, which is what I've decided his true name is if you haven't already noticed. His little faces...hilarious. Jordan and I found ourselves copying them to each other from across the room. And I am the only one that finds it funny that Kevin SPACEy played a robot in SPACE? Ah...I crack myself up.

I hope everyone's papers are fantastic. If you wanna read mine let me know (I did the preference of being female in "As Women Fight"). I'm not technologically intelligent enough to put it in a blog post. All I can handle is "create new blog" and "publish post". I'm more of an on paper nerd. Now I'm rambling...alas I shall see you all upon the stroke of 3 pm.


After watching Moon I realized that it reminded me a lot of a movie called Sunshine. Sunshine is about a group of astronauts that are trying to reignite the sun after it enters an early death cycle. The two aren't really similar plot-wise, obviously, but they have a lot else in common. Both movies have periods of long silence (which I guess helps the audience get that these people are alone up there), and the soundtracks are similar. The shots of the space outside the characters environment are also common to both. I guess I thought it was weird that two movies with completely opposite names and themes would sync in my head.

Inception fun online

I've been meaning to show you guys these things for a while.
I actually already knew that Inception had an online comic released as a promotional gimmick, which gives a little bit of background on Dom Cobb and his team.
It's the story of one of their previous extraction jobs, the one that ultimate lands them in trouble with COBOL Engineering Company, which is mentioned in the beginning of the movie.

Something I found while I was researching, however, that I though was really nifty, is a user manual for the PASIV device, or the Ladder, the machine which makes Dream-Share technology possible in the story.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Oh, the joys of the internet.

Also, here's my paper.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


As the title suggests, I am done with my paper. I wound up cutting out the comparisons between "The Island, " "Spar," and "Mongoose." Simply put, I bit off more than I can chew (there's a pun in there some where, dealing with my paper topic). I had forgotten how much I liked doing physics stuff.

Anyway, Here it is. Enjoy


So this contains spoilers in case anyone's waiting until the very last minute to watch the movie, but there was just something that I found very interesting about Moon that I thought would be interesting to discuss here.
From the minute the movie started and we were introduced to the Kevin Spacey-voiced GERTY, I was SURE that GERTY was going to ultimately be the villain of the piece. It seems to me, that whenever there is a 'character' like GERTY in sci fi works, such as HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the chimp in The Island, they end up being quite villainous in some way. So I was quite surprised when GERTY actually helped the 'Sam's. I thought it was really interesting way to take the usual 'robots are bad' technique and flip it. In this case, the humans on Earth seemed much scarier than GERTY, who was only programmed to help Sam and all of his later clones however it could. I just thought it was very clever of Duncan Jones (original story writer and director).

Baxter gives a little insight

So trying my best to plug it out and get this paper out of my head and onto the screen has been harder than I ever thought it would. It might be due to my recent bout of apathy for all things school-related. I promise it will be done on time. I work best at night so I'll finish it later, no doubt.

Anyway, I was perusing the interwebs for things that would help me figure out the math sides of "Formidable Caress" and Inception, and I stumbled onto Analog online magazine (where "Formidable Caress" was originally published).

The link in the title of this post will take you to Stephen Baxter, the author of "Formidable Caress" and many other sci-fi books/stories/etc., giving readers of Analog a little peek into the inspirations and ideas he used when creating Old Earth, the world in which this story and some of his others take place.

As when we picked Andy's brain a bit in class last week, I always like finding out what the author was thinking when they were writing something.

1984 and Little Brother

As I work on the paper that is due tomorrow (ah!) I'm seeing more and more parallels between Doctorow's Little Brother and Orwell's 1984. Some of them are quite obvious- the title Little Brother is in itself a literary allusion to 1984. Other names are parrallel too- Marcus's screen name w1n5t0n is reminiscient of Winston Smith, the main character of Orwell's novel. (This one actually took me quite a while to realize...).

The more I look at these two novels, the harder it becomes for me to not think of Little Brother as a blatant warning that our country is getting scarily close to becoming Airstrip One of Oceania closed tightly in the Party's fist.

Also as I reread Little Brother I find that I am becoming more paranoid. I emtpy out my cookies and cache on the internet whenever I leave a public computer, and sometimes even my computer at home. I've started using cash more often than my debit card. I don't know if this was an intentional side effect, but the book has certainly made me more aware of how easily trackable I am. Marcus's spirit of jamming has gotten into me!! However, I still haven't deduced a way to get into the parking garage without swiping my act card and having my picture taken...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A peek into my world...

So I know I've briefly mentioned before that I've been actively involved in countless text-based roleplaying game websites. I wanted you guys to take a peek at this online phenomenon, especially those of you who are interested in roleplaying or even just writing. There are millions of these sites out there, and I'm not talking about World of Warcraft or Evony or those kinds of things. I'm talking purely text. Story writing, but in the form of a game of sorts. You create your own character, throw them into this world on the site. They range from all kinds of movie/book/tv/game-based sites to original ones that people just make up themselves. Normally you flesh out your character with an application process where you lay down his/her history, quirks, habits and personality. A team of site administrators will accept your character or ask for a few more details, and then you're free to play!

It's like acting, but improvised and in text-form. You get to come up with these scenarios for your character to be plunged into and then whoever you choose to play with throws their character's reaction in. You respond in turn (usually in no less than 600 words on most advanced literate RP sites), and the madness begins. For example, the other day a character's dog got loose on the streets of Wonderland, the fictional town where one of the sites I currently RP takes place. My character, the motorcycle-driving, James Dean wanna-be, is just going about his business when this dog runs out in front of him. He swerves to miss the dog and wrecks. Then the other character comes over reacts... It goes on until both players either get bored or decide that subplot is finished. Most sites like this have an umbrella plot that all players work under, this one is Disney-based (yeah I'm lame), where every person in the town has a different Disney "spirit." So basically to create a character you pick a Disney character and model your person after them to an extent. I currently play Kovu the lion, The Mad Hatter, and Jock the dog on that site.

If I've bored you to tears, I'm sorry. But if you're interested, Caution 2.0 is a site that acts as a data base where RPers can advertise their sites and find other ones to join. MANY of these are sci-fi based. For example, here's one based on Transformers. Resident Evil. X-men..... There's pretty much anything you can think of.

Also if you notice, many of the creators of these sites have a lot of talent in the graphics and coding field. Some of them are pretty incredible just to look at. Some of the best writers I've read have been on sites like these. Sorry for the novel of a post I just made.... I get too excited sometimes.

Duncan's Story/Paper Progress

So I forgot to mention something in class last week that I think we briefly touched on: how sci-fi did you really see Andy's story? I didn't get as much a sci-fi as ghost story/fantasy feel to it. (That being said I loved it... don't fail me. And I'm serious. I really liked it.) I don't know much on the subject of geo-caching, and I think Andy said something about the fact that it's what made the story really "sci fi." Does anyone who knows anything about geo-caching know how realistic that was? Or is one of those "near-future" things? And does anyone else agree about it being more fantasy? I know Andy mentioned that it was actually up for a fantasy award.

And, as I have been looking at a few articles for my paper ("The Coldest Girl..." vs Twilight) I have found some pretty cool stuff related to the vampire/zombie phenomenon we talked about in class. Here's just two of the articles I've read that are pretty cool (and pretty scholastically legit btw):

Have fun but not too much. Work on your papers! And if you're interested you can play on Google too :)

Working on the paper...

I must say, it is really convenient that the science fiction world has abundant information on the internet, namely in the form of blogs. I'm working on my "As Women Fight" paper and the author's blog has been quite helpful, not to mention interesting.

Other science fiction thoughts for the weekend...I caught a bit of a movie on SyFy on Friday. It was crap. Is anybody with me when I say Syfy movies are decreasing in caliber? Maybe I just don't watch enough of them to get a clear idea of how good they are.

Anywho...good luck to everyone while paper writing and movie watching. I'm sure I'm not the only one sitting in the living room working on the paper for this class right now :)